Viewpoint: California judge blocks spraying of citrus-killing Asian psyllid, courting disaster

| | March 14, 2018
California Dept of Food and Agriculture technician uses aspirator to collect Asian citrus psyllid samples from tangerine tree. Image: Watchara Phomicinda, Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
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Judge Orders California Agriculture Officials to Cease Pesticide Use”

The judge’s decision is so scary because he just indefinitely suspended important work by state officials to curtail invasive species, including the Asian citrus psyllid.

California’s Department of Food and Agriculture was trying to stop the Asian citrus psyllid from destroying the state’s citrus trees by spraying pesticide that kill it. However, a number of environmental activist groups sued the state, complaining that the authority to spray the pesticide was improper. The California judge agreed with the decision, shutting down the spraying because the CDFA had not followed all the regulatory requirements, particularly preparing “environmental impact” reports.

“The pesticides used are common, have tolerances set that protect people and animals, and are only used in cases of extreme pest danger,” [said Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D., Director of Lindcove REC & Research Entomologist University of California Riverside.] “They are not applied to flowering plants and so bees are protected. In most programs, treatments are applied on a voluntary basis and homeowners can individually opt out. The consequence of this ruling is diseases like [citrus greening] will spread much faster. We currently have no cure for [citrus greening], it kills citrus trees and it will devastate not only commercial citrus but residential citrus.”

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Read full, original post: California pesticide ban lays groundwork for disaster

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